You need to arrive on your start date, preferably in the morning, as we meet in the afternoon for a pre-departure briefing.
If you want to go travelling, but have never done it before and have no one to go with you, don´t worry, this is perfect for you! Loaded with activities there is never a dull moment. A great way to travel South Korea safely and in a group, you have a jam-packed itinerary showcasing the best this amazing country has to offer. Culture, temples, palaces, beaches, adventure days.
Book now pay later with a £50 deposit. Start Planning today by contacting our team to discuss your options.
South Korea Escapade: Trip Highlights
- Group travel with like-minded travellers
- Make life-long friends
- Safe & Fun! Fully guided Tour with bilingual Adventure Leaders
- Visit historic sites, like palaces and temples
- Explore villages in the heart of South Korea
- Visit national parks and take in the beautiful landscapes
- Spend the night at a traditional bathhouse
- Take a cycling tour
- Stay overnight in a temple: take part in meditation and chanting services, traditional arts performance and Kunmudo lesson, drink tea with a Buddhist monk and enjoy traditional Buddhist meals
- Ride a Busan’s Marine Cable Car
- Take part in a Haenyeo Divers Experience and see the Incredible Women Divers of Jeju Island.
- Experience a traditional Liquor Making Workshop
- Hike to the top of Seongsan Ilchulbong – ‘Sunrise Peak’ – a heritage site formed by hydro-volcanic eruptions 5000 years ago.
South Korea Escapade Photos
South Korea Escapade: Full Details
Experience bustling, neon-lit metropolises, rolling countryside hills, long sandy beaches, temples in the mountains, and even a visit to the historic Demilitarized Zone on the border with North Korea, our adventure leaders will take you on and off-the-beaten-track and show you life as a local on this once-in-a-lifetime South Korean Escapade.
In the afternoon, meet your guide at the hostel ready to start your South Korea adventure! Listen to a pre- departure brief as you find out everything you need to know throughout your trip. Head out for your first dinner and get to know your fellow travellers over a feast of Korean barbeque.
After a delicious meal, make your way to the top of Namsan Mountain, where you can enjoy spectacular views of Seoul lit up at night. As the most popular location in Seoul for couples, take a walk through the sea of “padlocks of love” locked at the base of Seoul
N Tower, representing visitors’ endless love! If you want an even better view of the city, you can head to the top of the tower.
Hop on public transport back to the district of Hongdae where your accommodation is. Enjoy some
time to stroll around and explore the hip area or get an early night ready for your first full day tomorrow!
Get ready for a trip to the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Climb aboard a bus, taking you an hour north
of Seoul to Imjingak, where you’ll have the chance to grab some breakfast. Continue your journey to Dorasan Station, the northernmost train stop in South Korea that was once intended to connect the country with North Korea. While there, you can buy a
commemorative train ticket!
Pay a visit to Dora Observatory where you can see the nearest North Korean villages through binoculars.
If you’re lucky, you might even see some people in the streets. Next, descent into the 3rd Tunnel created by North Koreans, taking you as close as 170m to North
Begin your journey back to Seoul and make the most of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to talk to a North Korean defector on the bus. Back in Seoul, why not hit up Myeongdong for a lunch with the rest of the group or explore the surrounding area with visits to
Myeongdong Cathedral or a quirky cat café?
Enjoy a free evening to explore the city as you please. For some evening entertainment, watch a Nanta Show (a non-verbal comedy cooking performance), explore Itaewon – best known for its endless restaurant and bar options, or head over to the ritzy
Rise and shine early for a day of exploring the ancient side of Seoul. Hop on the metro to Gyeongbokgung Palace where you’ll have the chance to watch the
Royal Guard Changing Ceremony, before entering the palace groups itself. Then, make your way to
Bukchon Hanok Village, stopping by the Blue House – the White House of South Korea – on the way.
Here, you can change into hanbok, traditional Korean clothes, to walk around the historic village. After a
jam-packed morning, enjoy a group lunch with your fellow travellers at Tongin Market, or grab something yourself from the nearby area.
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city with a walk down the Cheonggyecheon stream, an area of tranquillity and relaxation restored during an urban renewal project. Afterwards, prepared to be inspired at Insadong Art Street where you can take part in an optional Kimchi Tasting session at Museum Kimchikan.
In the evening, have some free time to explore Seoul further. Walk around Ikseon-dong Hanok Street,
immerse yourself in local life with a group dinner at pojangmacha – soju drinking tents with delicious food – or head back to Hongdae Street for a night out on a
Check out of your accommodation and depart for day-trip to Sokcho, in the north-east of the country.
Arrive at Seoraksan National Park in the late morning and pay a visit to Sinheungsa Temple. Embark on
a hike to Ulsanbawi Rock for pectacular views over the national park. For those looking for a
less challenging hike, you can hike the well-signed waterfall trail and hop on board a cable car to
Refuel with some lunch back at the entrance of the park before taking the bus to Sokcho town. Here,
you’ll climb aboard a gatbae to cross the river to Abai, a small village of North Korean refugees. With no motors, these boats travel by cable pulleys so be prepared to roll your sleeves up! Explore the historic village before climbing to the Lighthouse Observatory
for incredible views of Seoraksan Mountain, the East Sea and Sokcho.
Opt for a dinner with the rest of the group in and around the local fish markets. We’d recommend one of the most famous Korean fried chicken restaurants in the area, Manseok, known for its sticky sweet and sour boneless fried chicken. Head back to Seoul
and check into your accommodation for the night, a
jjimjilbang – a traditional Korean bath and sleeping house. Explore the multi-storey abode, with sex-
segregated onsen baths, meditation rooms, saunas, ice rooms and even an entertainment floor!
After a night of relaxation and rejuvenation, check out of your accommodation and walk to Seoul station. Grab some breakfast before taking the train to Singyeongju Station near the city of Gyeongju. After checking into your hostel, enjoy lunch at Seongdong Traditional Market or one of the many surrounding
Get ready for an afternoon exploring Gyeongju by bike! First up, explore Cheonmachong Ancient Tombs, part of the Daereungwon Tomb Complex in Tumuli Park. Then, make your way to Cheomseongdae, the oldest existing astronomical observatory in East Asia. Head to Gyerim Forest and pay a visit to Hyanggyo Confucius School on the way.
If you’re thirsty, stop for a cup of tea at a 300-year old tea house nearby. Want to experience authentic Korean food? Have
dinner at Dosol Maeul, a local restaurant serving traditional Korean set meals in an equally authentic environment! Later, why not take a stroll around to Anapji Pond for some amazing night time views of the palace? Be sure to pack your cameras because the lights are stunning.
Start the day early with a visit to Bulguksa Temple, a UNESCO World Cultural Asset, or take the opportunity to have a lie-in. Grab a bite to eat for lunch in the city
before transferring to Golgulsa Temple, where you’ll experience an overnight temple stay.
Upon arrival, check into the temple and start the day’s activities with a meditation class. Want an afternoon with more action? Why not take part in the archery, horse riding or physical training classes. Afterwards, watch a breath-taking traditional arts performance and Sunmudo demonstration before lending a hand to the temple’s communal work.
Enjoy a simple Buddhist dinner of vegetables, rice and fruit with the other temple visitors and embers.
Take part in the evening chanting service and meditation before learning the basics of Sunmudo
yourself! After some evening activity, hit the hay ready for an early start tomorrow.
Wake up with the sunrise and take part in the morning chanting service and meditation, followed
by starting the day right with a traditional breakfast.
Next, enjoy a fantastic opportunity to talk to a Buddhist monk over tea, where you’ll have the chance
to ask whatever you want!
After a relaxing morning, take part in your final Sunmudo training lesson to master your skills. Fill
up your bellies with lunch before taking the bus back to the city. Then, make your way to Gyeongju
bus station where you’ll start your journey to Busan.
Arrive in the late afternoon and head straight to your accommodation.
Check-in and make yourself comfortable before heading out for dinner. Grab some fresh seafood or
enjoy Korean style chicken and rice at tables along the beachfront. Want to explore the thriving nightlight of Busan? Hit the town for a night out along the Haeundae beachfront!
Head out for a day exploring Busan. First up, make your way to Jagalchi Market, the biggest seafood market in South Korea. Wander through the bright and colourful stalls showcasing a huge variety of the day’s fresh catch. Pick the best of the bunch for a tasty lunch before heading to BIFF Square in Nampo-dong, the city’s famous movie district and home to the annual Busan International Film Festival.
Want to step into another dimension? Take part in a cutting-edge Virtual Reality gaming experience! Alternatively, spend the afternoon exploring the real
world further. Treat your taste buds to Busan-style hotteok – a fried pancake filled with brown sugar and various seeds – from a street food vendor.
Head to Songdo Beach where you’ll hop on the Marine Cable Car and enjoy spectacular aerial views
of the shoreline and city in the distance. If you’re lucky, your car might have a glass floor! Follow a path along the cliffs back down to the beach or opt for a return on the cable car.
Take the metro to Gwangan Beach and enjoy dinner with your fellow travellers. Try the Korean delicacy, jokbal, or hit up Slice of Life for the best New York- style pizza around. Once the sun sets, admire the light show on Gwangan Bridge, before checking out the nightlife along the beachfront.
Enjoy a free morning to explore Busan. Venture out on your own or take part in some of our suggested
activities. Join a cooking class and learn to make your favourite Korean dishes you’ve tried throughout your trip. Alternatively, visit Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, a Buddhist temple nestled in the coastline’s
cliffs, take a day trip to the colourful Gamcheon Culture Village, or embark on the Igidae Coastal Walk and Oryukdo Skywalk.
Feeling in need of some more rejuvenation? Head to Spa Land in Centum City, located in Busan’s largest shopping complex! Make the most of South Korea’s high-quality jjimjilbang (bath house)while you’re here and treat yourself to a few more hours of saunas, cold rooms, jacuzzis and more.
Pick up your belongings from the hostel and make your way to the port where you’ll catch an overnight ferry to Jeju Island. Catch a great view of the city
from the top deck as you pull out of the port. Chill out with your fellow travellers in the lounge areas or head to bed ready for an early rise in the morning.
Arrive in Jeju early in the morning after eating breakfast onboard the ferry. Head to a section of the
coastline to take part in a Haenyeo Divers Experience, where you’ll have a fantastic opportunity to go out with the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage women divers of Jeju. Learn how to catch fish using just a knife while holding your breath!
Once back on dry land, have an early lunch before taking part in a traditional liquor making experience. You’ll learn how it’s made and get to sample a variety of different types. Later, hike to the top of Seongsan Ilchulbong, also known as Sunrise Peak. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the unique formation was formed by hydrovolcanic eruptions over 5,000 years ago!
On your way back to the hostel, witness a performance by the Haenyeo Divers by the beach in
the shadow of the peak. Spend the rest of the day at your leisure. If you’re looking for an epic view this
evening, head to Seopjikoji Viewpoint at sunset.
Depart by private transfer on a day trip to Jeongbang Waterfall. Start the day at the waterfall, the only one of its kind in Asia, which flows directly into the ocean. Then, embark on a day-long trek along the Jeju Olle Trail. Take a break and refuel with lunch in Seogwipo
city before continuing your trek to Oedolgae Rock. Take in the gorgeous natural scenery along the way, from the volcanic cliffs to the bright yellow fields of canola.
Return to the hostel in the early afternoon and enjoy some well-deserved rest time! Relax on the
beach or chill in the hostel before your final night’s celebrations. If you’ve still got some energy, head out on to the water a try your hand at surfing or stand up paddleboard. In the evening, kick back with a BBQ party by the
beach! Eat delicious food, watch the sun go down and party into the night by the seashore. Make the
most of your time with your fellow travellers, as you’ll be saying goodbye in the morning. The following morning your trip will have come to an end and it’s time to say an emotional goodbye to
your group! Head back to Seoul, explore the wonders
of Jeju Island further or continue with your travels elsewhere.
Throughout our South Korean trip, we stay in hostels, guesthouses, Jjimjilbang (traditional bathhouses), as well as an overnight temple stay. All of the accommodation that we use are clean, air-conditioned or have fans, are safe, have good showers, internet, washing machines and most importantly, have real South Korean character. People who stay at hostels are usually young people aged 18 to 35 who are travelling on a smaller budget than people staying at hotels. So, it is easy to make friends and fun to hang out in the lounge areas. If you would like to stay in a private room though, that is absolutely possible as long as we have room upgrades available at the time of booking your trip.
- Bilingual Adventure Leaders
- Transport within South Korea
- Accommodation (including hostels, bathhouses and temples!)
The following activities are included in the price:
- Welcome dinner of Korean barbecue (Seoul)
- Enjoy the great views of Seoul from Namsan Mountain (Seoul)
- Visit the Demilitarized Zone and have the chance to talk to a North Korean defector (Seoul)
- Visit Gyeongbokgung Palace (Seoul)
- Walk around the historic Bukchon Hanok Village (Seoul)
- A visit to Insadong art street (Seoul)
- Visit Seoroksan National Park, Sokcho town, Abai Village via a cable pulley boat, then walk to the Lighthouse Observatory for breathtaking views (Sokcho)
- Spend the night at Jjimjilbang the traditional bathhouses (Sokcho)
- Take a cycling tour of Gyeongju (Gyeongju)
- Overnight stay at Golgulsa Temple: take part in meditation and chanting services, traditional arts performance and Kunmudo lesson, drink tea with a Buddhist monk and enjoy traditional Buddhist meals (Gyeongju)
- Ride Busan’s Marine Cable Car (Busan)
- Take part in a Haenyeo Divers Experience (Jeju)
- Traditional Liquor Making Workshop (Jeju)
- Hike to the top of Seongsan Ilchulbong (Jeju)
- Witness a Haenyeo Divers performance by the beach (Jeju)
- Day trek along the Jeju Olle Trail (Jeju)
- BBQ party by the beach (Jeju)
- Travel Insurance
- Airport Transfers
- Most meals (Approx £10 – 15 per day)
- Any flight/bus/ferry tickets for journeys made after the end of the trip
- Aside from the many free unmissable activities that we offer you, we also offer some extra activities which are great value for money, safe and fun.
- Head to the top of Seoul N Tower for panoramic views of the city (10,000 KRW)
- Enjoy a group lunch in Myeongdong [Andong Jjimdak] (around 10,000 KRW per person)
- Stroll around Myeongdong, visiting the Cathedral and opt to have a drink at a quirky Cat Café (9,000-12,000 KRW)
- Watch an evening Nanta Show (40,000-70,000 KRW, dependent on the seat)
- Take the bus to Itaewon and enjoy dinner and drinks (at your own expense)
- Make your way to Gangnam to visit K-pop street, have dinner and enjoy drinks (at your own expense)
- Rent Hanbok [traditional Korean clothing] to wear as you explore (10,000 KRW per hour)
- Have a group lunch at Tongin Traditional Market (5,000-10,000 KRW per person)
- Take part in kimchi tasting at Museum Kimchikan (5,000 KRW)
- Walk around Ikseondong Hanok Street
- Enjoy dinner with the rest of the group at a Pojangmacha [soju drinking tent] (10,000+ KRW)
- Take part in a pub crawl in Hongdae (25,000 KRW)
- Enjoy dinner around the fish market [Manseok is the most famous Korean fried chicken restaurant in the area] (around 18,000 KRW for a box shared by 2-3 people)
- Drink tea at a 300-year-old ancient teahouse (8,000-10,000 KRW)
- Eat a traditional set meal in a Hanok at Dosol Maeul (10,000 KRW per person)
- Head to Anapji for amazing views of the pond in the evening (2,000 KRW)
- Visit Bulguksa Temple (5,000 KRW entrance fee, 3,400 KRW return bus ticket)
- Try archery (10,000 KRW), horse riding (20,000 KRW) or physical training (10,000 KRW) at Golgulsa Temple
- Enjoy dinner and a night out in Haeundae (at your own expense)
- Have a seafood lunch at Jagalchi Market (at your own expense)
- Virtual Reality experience (15 mins-15,000 KRW or 30 mins-30,000 KRW)
- Spend some free time exploring Nampo-dong Street
- Try a local delicacy of hotteok (at your own expense)
- Opt to buy a Cable Car return ticket (15,000 KRW)
- Admire the evening lightshow on Gwangan Bridge
- Take part in a Korean cooking class (56,000 KRW)
- Visit Haedong Yongguksa Temple
- Spend the day in Gamcheon Cultural Village
- Embark on the Igidae Coastal Walk and do the Oryukdo Sky Walk
- Relax at Centum Spa Land (17,000 KRW for 4 hours)
- Visit Seopjikoji Viewpoint at sunset
- Relax on the beach
- Try your hand at surfing or stand up paddle boarding (60,000 KRW)
These prices are just for reference and there may be changes due to the season and availability. However, we do our best to update them straight away.
Frequently Asked Questions
We do not currently offer an airport transfer service in Seoul, as public transportation from the airport to the city centre is much more convenient and very easy to navigate. The “All Stops” airport transfer trains run every 5-10 minutes from Incheon International Airport to Seoul Station. Our accommodation in Seoul is located near Hongik University Station; the journey takes roughly 50 minutes on the train and costs 4,150-4,750 KRW (£ 3 – £ 4).
Your South Korea tour will end at Jeju International Airport (Jeju Island) on Day 12. This will include a group transfer from your accommodation to the airport. If you need to arrive at the airport early or later than the chosen transfer time, you will need to organise this yourself.
Each trip is different, but our travellers come from all over the world and from every background – you will be able to connect with fellow travellers
Usually, Xtreme Gappers are aged anywhere between 18 to 30 something, but we do get older customers joining. We fully embrace the backpacker attitude that everyone is very welcome. A typical trip would include friends who have just finished high school, couples on career breaks, students on university holidays, and solo travellers from all walks of life. The group normally speaks English but come from all over the world including the UK, North America, Australia and New Zealand and Mainland Europe.
Nice and easy! South Korea offers visa-free entry for up to 90 days for many nationalities, including British, American and Australian. Be sure to double-check your country’s status before you travel.
We require all our customers to have backpackers travel insurance when coming on the trip. We recommend purchasing a travel insurance that offers ‘Bad Weather or Natural Disaster Coverage’.
Please bring details of your travel insurance along with you. In the event of an accident, we may need to contact your insurance company on your behalf, so we will need the insurance company’s name and phone number and your policy number. We recommend using World Nomads as your travel insurance provider.
Xtreme Gap Year aims to enter no areas with tropical diseases. However, as with any backpacking trip, we urge you to seek advice from a travel nurse before departing your home country.
- All travellers should be up to date with a full course of vaccination and boosters recommended by their governments. For UK regulations, click here.
A suitcase is OK, but a backpack/hold-all is much, much more convenient. Whether you’re travelling elsewhere in Asia or just flying to and from South Korea, remember to look into what the checked luggage weight limits are for your flights.
We advise a rucksack of 50 – 70L but a suitcase is also fine. If absolutely necessary, arrangements can also be made to send things domestically, for an extra fee.
- Sensible walking shoes
- Long pants
- Swimming costume
- Lightweight waterproof
- Warm sweater/jacket
- Passport (see our Visa section for useful information)
- Cash, South Korean won or credit/debit card
- Student card if you have one, although it is not guaranteed to be accepted
- Travel insurance policy
- Photocopies of insurance policy, bank cards, passport photo page, visa
- Reusable water bottle
- Books and other entertainments for the night trains
- Mosquito repellent, sun-screen and after-sun
- Camera and charger – South Korea is a photographer’s dream!
- Small first aid kit with medicine for diarrhoea, paracetamol, disinfectant etc.
- A big bag and a small rucksack. We sometimes get separated from our big bags, so you’ll need to keep your valuables with you in a small bag.
Bring electronic products at your own risk. Some customers choose to travel with iPhone, tablets and laptops, but although theft is extremely rare on Xtreme Gap trips, there is petty crime in some areas we visit.
You will be able to withdraw money at ATMs in the major cities and tourist areas in South Korea, and your Adventure Leader will tell you when the next stop on the trip where you will be able to withdraw more cash is. Not all ATMs in South Korea will accept foreign bank cards, so would recommend researching ATMs in advance. We advise that you notify your bank that you will be travelling before you depart. As a note, many banks and cards do charge a foreign transaction fee when withdrawing money while abroad.
Withdrawing cash in your home currency before travelling and exchanging it to the local currency in South Korea will allow you to avoid card fees, however, ensure you research the exchange rate and pick the vendor with the best offers to avoid heavy commissions or poor rates.
It really varies depending on your taste and budget. You can get a meal of Gimpap (Korean sushi) or noodles for 5,000-6,000₩ (£4-5). Generally, we take travellers to affordable restaurants and recommend budgeting £10-15 a day for food and drink.
Side Note: Tipping in South Korea is not customary and is not necessary. It’s not uncommon for staff to politely refuse tips, so you won’t offend anyone by not tipping. You can offer for a taxi driver to keep the change, but formal tips are not expected.
South Korea Escapade Trip Dates